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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's public pension fund is set to move into a new office next spring but drop an earlier cost-saving plan to leave Tokyo, as the government aims to transform the understaffed body into a more professional and autonomous institution, sources said.

The Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's largest public pension, with 126.58 trillion yen (0.73 trillion pounds) in assets, but with only around 80 employees, now occupies a building that has minimal amenities and little air-conditioning.

It has already won approval to expand its staff and hire full-time investment professionals, in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to make the fund more capable of taking on riskier investments and less dependent on low-yielding Japanese government bonds (JGBs).

GPIF had previously planned to move to Kanagawa prefecture, to the south of Tokyo, to save costs. Government sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that decision was now likely to be overturned as a location outside the capital would make it difficult to recruit financial professionals.

Besides its hiring plans, the Health Ministry, which now supervises the fund, is also considering legislation to give it a larger degree of autonomy.

(Reporting by Takaya Yamaguchi; Writing by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Reuters